Finding and 
Generating News 
Presented by 
Brett Atwood
Dealing with Gatekeepers 
• You may control the presentation of your 
press campaign, but you can’t control how it is 
use...
Media Gatekeepers 
• Journalists are flooding by PR reps 
• How do you break through the clutter?
Trading Spaces 
• Put yourself in the position of the journalist 
• What will you respond to? 
• What are the challenges y...
Some challenges 
• Limited space 
• Limited time 
• Pressure to be correct 
• Pressure to be “fair and balanced” 
• Desire...
What can you do? 
• Target your campaigns intelligently 
• Shape your pitch so that it conforms with 
what the public and ...
Helping the Writer 
• By helping the writer/editor acquire the 
information, the PR person is directly involved 
in the re...
Inside the Mind of the Journalist 
• Journalists look for the following criteria when 
determining “what is news”
What is Newsworthy? 
• Timeliness 
• Prominence 
• Proximity 
• Significance 
• Unusualness 
• Human Interest 
• Conflict ...
Timeliness 
• How recently did (or will) the event 
happen? 
• Live event? 
• The more time that passes, the less 
newswor...
Timeliness 
• When your client makes an announcement, 
you must make sure that the information 
reaches the media immediat...
Timeliness 
• Tap into current events and 
holidays for possible news 
coverage 
• Find a hook that links your 
campaign t...
Prominence 
• Celebrity adds credibility and news value to 
a campaign 
– A marginal pitch might get coverage when you 
ad...
Prominence 
• “One” Campaign 
• Enlisted celebrities to call 
attention to the cause
Example 
• Katie Couric went on a 
media tour to discuss the 
importance of getting 
colonoscopy cancer-screening 
tests 
...
Proximity 
• Does your pitch have a 
local angle?
Proximity 
• Statistic: About 70% of all news coverage in 
business/financial sections focuses on LOCAL 
businesses 
• If ...
Significance 
• How does the information impact 
the audience? 
• Create a pitch that addresses a 
concern or need of the ...
Significance 
• Example: 
– After 9/11 attacks, there 
was public concern 
about safety in high-rise 
buildings 
– “High-r...
Unusualness 
• An unusual event or PR 
campaign might generate 
some news interest 
• Example: 
– “World’s largest sandwic...
Unusualness 
• Example: 
– Amazon.com issues a press 
release that promotes the 
site’s “number one” 
reviewer 
– Harriet ...
Human Interest 
• Is there an 
emotional 
component to the 
campaign? 
• If it is “interesting,” 
then it may be 
newswort...
Human Interest 
• Example: 
– World AIDS Day is Dec. 1 
– Campaign to raise awareness 
might include a personal story 
of ...
Conflict 
• Conflict and tension tends to get news 
coverage 
• A PR campaign can jump into the 
discussion/debate 
– Use ...
Conflict 
• Example: 
– Political PR campaign for pro-life vs. pro-choice 
– Your candidate can gain publicity by aligning...
Newness 
• If it is perceived as “new,” then it is elevated 
in news importance 
• Many PR campaigns repackage or reinvent...
Newness 
• Example: 
– Tide detergent has 
reinvented itself constantly 
via product variations and 
“new and improved” 
m...
Applying the News Criteria 
• As you strategize your PR campaign, you 
should look internally and externally to 
determine...
Internal 
• Conduct a needs assessment with your client 
• What activities/initiatives/products/services 
might be conside...
Some Things to Consider 
• Is there anything new happening? 
• Is there a high-profile personality involved 
with a projec...
External 
• Look outside the organization for events or 
trends that you can tap into 
• Be pro-active in pitching the med...
Example 
• As a reporter, I often needed a legal 
perspective for some of my stories 
• One very media-savvy lawyer made a...
Creating News 
• A PR person can help to “create news” by 
understanding what journalists respond to 
• “Pseudoevents” 
• ...
Develop a Media Campaign Strategy 
• On the following slides, you will see two 
scenarios that require you to develop a me...
Media Campaign Strategy 
• Your findings should include: 
– Who is/are the public(s) you are trying to reach? 
– How will ...
Scenario No. 1 
• Lavoris Mouthwash is a brand 
that has been around for over 
100 years! 
• It was the first consumer 
mo...
Scenario No. 2 
• Musician Robin Thicke is 
having a career crisis 
• He is getting negative press 
due to his strange pub...
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Working With The Media

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This lecture focuses on how PR professionals work with the media.

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Working With The Media

  1. 1. Finding and Generating News Presented by Brett Atwood
  2. 2. Dealing with Gatekeepers • You may control the presentation of your press campaign, but you can’t control how it is used by journalists
  3. 3. Media Gatekeepers • Journalists are flooding by PR reps • How do you break through the clutter?
  4. 4. Trading Spaces • Put yourself in the position of the journalist • What will you respond to? • What are the challenges you face?
  5. 5. Some challenges • Limited space • Limited time • Pressure to be correct • Pressure to be “fair and balanced” • Desire to tell the “truth” • Information overload • Competitive pressure
  6. 6. What can you do? • Target your campaigns intelligently • Shape your pitch so that it conforms with what the public and media will respond well to • Be a student of psychology and human behavior
  7. 7. Helping the Writer • By helping the writer/editor acquire the information, the PR person is directly involved in the research for the story – In some cases, this can help “spin” the story in a direction desired by the PR company
  8. 8. Inside the Mind of the Journalist • Journalists look for the following criteria when determining “what is news”
  9. 9. What is Newsworthy? • Timeliness • Prominence • Proximity • Significance • Unusualness • Human Interest • Conflict • Newness
  10. 10. Timeliness • How recently did (or will) the event happen? • Live event? • The more time that passes, the less newsworthy a story is
  11. 11. Timeliness • When your client makes an announcement, you must make sure that the information reaches the media immediately – Sometimes, you can give the press information early so that they can prepare the news story in advance • “Press Embargo” • “Non-disclosure”
  12. 12. Timeliness • Tap into current events and holidays for possible news coverage • Find a hook that links your campaign to the news – Example: • Entertainment streaming service Netflix gets publicity due to the media’s interest in the timely topic of “cutting the cord”
  13. 13. Prominence • Celebrity adds credibility and news value to a campaign – A marginal pitch might get coverage when you add a well-known spokesperson
  14. 14. Prominence • “One” Campaign • Enlisted celebrities to call attention to the cause
  15. 15. Example • Katie Couric went on a media tour to discuss the importance of getting colonoscopy cancer-screening tests • 20% increase in the procedure in the following months after the campaign
  16. 16. Proximity • Does your pitch have a local angle?
  17. 17. Proximity • Statistic: About 70% of all news coverage in business/financial sections focuses on LOCAL businesses • If you are doing a national campaign, customize a local pitch for each regional media outlet
  18. 18. Significance • How does the information impact the audience? • Create a pitch that addresses a concern or need of the audience
  19. 19. Significance • Example: – After 9/11 attacks, there was public concern about safety in high-rise buildings – “High-rise Office Parachute” product got tons of publicity
  20. 20. Unusualness • An unusual event or PR campaign might generate some news interest • Example: – “World’s largest sandwich” event sponsored by Bimbo Bakery (Mexico City)
  21. 21. Unusualness • Example: – Amazon.com issues a press release that promotes the site’s “number one” reviewer – Harriet Klausner has written over 12,000 reviews without pay for the site
  22. 22. Human Interest • Is there an emotional component to the campaign? • If it is “interesting,” then it may be newsworthy
  23. 23. Human Interest • Example: – World AIDS Day is Dec. 1 – Campaign to raise awareness might include a personal story of someone impacted by AIDS – Media responds to the “human interest” angle
  24. 24. Conflict • Conflict and tension tends to get news coverage • A PR campaign can jump into the discussion/debate – Use caution in these situations
  25. 25. Conflict • Example: – Political PR campaign for pro-life vs. pro-choice – Your candidate can gain publicity by aligning with a particular side in the debate
  26. 26. Newness • If it is perceived as “new,” then it is elevated in news importance • Many PR campaigns repackage or reinvent something old into something “new” to gain publicity
  27. 27. Newness • Example: – Tide detergent has reinvented itself constantly via product variations and “new and improved” messaging for decades
  28. 28. Applying the News Criteria • As you strategize your PR campaign, you should look internally and externally to determine possible news angles to pitch
  29. 29. Internal • Conduct a needs assessment with your client • What activities/initiatives/products/services might be considered relevant to the media
  30. 30. Some Things to Consider • Is there anything new happening? • Is there a high-profile personality involved with a project? • Is there anything unusual happening? • Is there anything with human interest?
  31. 31. External • Look outside the organization for events or trends that you can tap into • Be pro-active in pitching the media about your initiative – within the framework of the larger news/event phenomena
  32. 32. Example • As a reporter, I often needed a legal perspective for some of my stories • One very media-savvy lawyer made a point to “reach out” to me – Gave me her cell number – Willing to help me research legal info – Willing to give a quote – Her career benefited from the exposure – I got my quote/credibility
  33. 33. Creating News • A PR person can help to “create news” by understanding what journalists respond to • “Pseudoevents” • Contests • Polls and Surveys
  34. 34. Develop a Media Campaign Strategy • On the following slides, you will see two scenarios that require you to develop a media campaign strategy • Using the “news criteria” cited in the previous slides, develop your thoughts on how you would deal with the media on behalf of your client in each scenario
  35. 35. Media Campaign Strategy • Your findings should include: – Who is/are the public(s) you are trying to reach? – How will you reach them? • Develop specific strategies • Include a local angle, if possible – What is your message? • Include key “talking points”
  36. 36. Scenario No. 1 • Lavoris Mouthwash is a brand that has been around for over 100 years! • It was the first consumer mouthwash • However, it is perceived as stodgy and old-fashioned • Sales are down and the product is no longer carried by most retailers • Develop a strategy that can begin to revive this brand and change public perception
  37. 37. Scenario No. 2 • Musician Robin Thicke is having a career crisis • He is getting negative press due to his strange public behavior and lackluster interest in his newer songs • Develop a strategy to help him turn the public perception around!
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